By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: October 2009
Claremore mower racers look forward to the November 7th event at Claremore’s VFW Post 2976, benefiting Toys for Tots (L to R): Paul, Katelyn, Tim, Quick, Charlie, Ben and Larry.
If you’re looking for a really fun outing that your entire family will enjoy, mark your calendar for the 5th annual Mower Racing Charity Event, to be held at Claremore’s VFW Post 2976 on Saturday, November 7. Lawn mowers will be drag racing that afternoon beginning at 2, and all proceeds will benefit Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine-inspired organization that collects new toys and distributes them to needy children in the community.
The VFW Post is located at 1717 W. Dupont St. in Claremore, immediately behind the Expo complex. The mower-racing event is designed to entertain and delight the whole family, including children, parents and grandparents. Last year’s event drew 1,500 spectators, and this year’s race crowd is expected to be even bigger. There will be limited seating available in the grandstand, but spectators are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. Concessions, a cake walk, and lots of games and activities for the kids will be on hand, along with entertainment following the races provided by Wanda Watson and her band. Wanda is an award-winning jazz musician who was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2007.
Admission to the races, activities, and Wanda Watson concert is only one toy per family. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy suitable for a youth between the ages of 12 and 16. The Toys for Tots campaign generates plenty of toys for the younger kids, but there always seems to be a shortage of gifts for teens and preteens. If you don’t bring a toy, you can still be admitted to the day’s races and concert for a cash donation at the gate.
The main sponsor of the Mower Racing Charity Event is Cutter’s Edge & ATV of Claremore, owned by Tim Johnson. Johnson will also be competing in the mower races.
Ben Foster, 2008 Overall Champion of Claremore Mower Racing, pops a wheelie during a practice run down the 150-foot grass strip.
The races are conducted by pairing two racers at a time drag-strip style down a 150-foot grass strip, with mowers approaching speeds of 50 miles per hour. The races will feature two classes. The modified class will have some entries running on nitrous oxide, a chemical compound used to increase an internal combustion engine’s power output by allowing more fuel to be burned than would normally be the case. Most, however, run on gasoline. The other class is ZTR (zero turn radius) racers. You can also expect to see machines with turbo chargers and some with monster kits.
Racers are staged behind a starting line with a professional-quality electronic Christmas tree starting device, to make sure no one leaves the line early. At the end of the drag strip, another electronic device captures the times of both racers and determines heat winners. The races are set up for double elimination. The racing organization’s youngest entry this year is 14-year-old Katelyn Willis.
Children between the ages of 10 and 12 are invited to participate in a push mower event. The engines have been removed from two push-style lawn mowers, which will be propelled by each racer steering them down the course. This event will be single elimination, and a trophy will be awarded to the winner.
This year’s event committee is comprised of Tim Johnson, Randy “Quick” Willis, Charles McCaskey, and Ben Foster, last year’s Traveling Trophy Winner.
The annual Mower Racing event is guaranteed to ensure a fun time for the family in a carnival-style setting. Come join the thrills on November 7. And please don’t forget to bring a toy for a 12 to 16 year old boy or girl for the Toys for Tots campaign.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.